Read Dakini Power: Twelve Extraordinary Women Shaping the Transmission of Tibetan Buddhism in the West by Michaela Haas Online


What drives a young London librarian to board a ship to India, meditate in a remote cave by herself for twelve years, and then build a flourishing nunnery in the Himalayas? How does a surfer girl from Malibu become the head of the main international organization for Buddhist women? Why does the daughter of a music executive in Santa Monica dream so vividly of peacocks oneWhat drives a young London librarian to board a ship to India, meditate in a remote cave by herself for twelve years, and then build a flourishing nunnery in the Himalayas? How does a surfer girl from Malibu become the head of the main international organization for Buddhist women? Why does the daughter of a music executive in Santa Monica dream so vividly of peacocks one night that she chases these images to Nepal, where she finds the love of her life in an unconventional young Tibetan master?The women featured in Dakini Power—contemporary teachers of Tibetan Buddhism, both Asians and Westerners, who teach in the West—have been universally recognized as accomplished practitioners and brilliant teachers whose life stories demonstrate their immense determination and bravery. Meeting them in this book, readers will be inspired to let go of old fears, explore new paths, and lead the lives they envision.Featured here are:Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche (This Precious Life)Dagmola Sakya (Princess in the Land of Snows)Jetsun Tenzin Palmo (Diane Perry) (Into the Heart of Life)Pema Chödrön (Deirdre Blomfield-Brown) (When Things Fall Apart; Start Where You Are)Khandro Tsering Chödron (most familiar to readers as the late aunt of Sogyal Rinpoche, author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying)Thubten Chodron (Cherry Greene) (Buddhism for Beginners; Taming the Mind)Karma Lekshe Tsomo (Patricia Zenn) (Buddhism Through American Women’s Eyes)Chagdud Khadro (Jane Dedman) (P’howa Commentary; Life in Relation to Death)Sangye Khandro (Nanci Gay Gustafson) (Meditation, Transformation, and Dream Yoga)Roshi Joan Halifax (Being with Dying)Lama Tsultrim Allione (Joan Rousmanière Ewing) (Women of Wisdom; Feeding Your Demons)Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel (The Power of an Open Question)...

Title : Dakini Power: Twelve Extraordinary Women Shaping the Transmission of Tibetan Buddhism in the West
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ISBN : 9781559394079
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 352 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Dakini Power: Twelve Extraordinary Women Shaping the Transmission of Tibetan Buddhism in the West Reviews

  • Jen
    2019-06-12 05:54

    Michaela Haas, a reporter, lecturer, and consultant has been practicing Buddhism for twenty years. A visiting scholar in Religious Studies at UC Santa Barbara, Haas profiles twelve impressive women whose efforts are having tremendous influence in the spread of Buddhist philosophy and the inclusion of women in a male dominated hierarchy.The stories of these twelve women are interesting and inspirational, and following the paths they have taken provides a fascinating look at the way these different women have met the challenges they've faced.As in any hierarchical system, religious or not, there is room for abuse of power, and I found it interesting that the dakinis chose to discuss the kinds of abuse that can take place and the differences in the way monks and nuns are treated. Traditionally, nuns get little support and no real education, while monks are well-supported and spend a majority of their lives receiving teachings that are usually denied to the women. These women were courageous enough, or lucky enough, to find teachers that gave them the respect and spiritual education they so badly wanted and needed.Net Galley ARC

  • Gwendoline Van
    2019-06-22 00:44

    I loved this book. I loved the forays into the women trailblazers paving the way for Buddhism in the West. I loved the lessons. I loved the stories. I just plain loved it. - Jetsun Kahndro Rinpoche- Dagmola Kusha Sakya (Seattle, OR)- Jetsunman Tenzin Palmo - Sangye Khandro (Ashland, OR)- Pema Chodron (Colorado, Crestone)- Chagdud Khadro- Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel (Crestone, CO)- Karma Lekshe Tsomo- Thubten Chodron (Newport, WA)- Roshi Joan Halifax (Ojai Foundation, Upaya, Mind & Life Institute)- Tsultrium Allione (Pagosa Springs, CO)- Khadrom Tsering ChodronGems: "The bodhisattva ideal in Tibetan Buddhism is that of a warrior who compassionately seeks liberation not for himself or herself but for the sake of all sentient beings. And liberation from suffering, a promise of the Buddhist path, was primarily a matter of the mind, an internal revolution, so my imperative shifted from exposing corrupt governments to exposing the corruption of my own mind." (xviii)"'Whether male or female, there is no great difference. But if a woman develops the mind of enlightenment, her potential is supreme.' - Padmasambhava, pioneer of Vajrayana Buddhism" (1)"... many males are afraid of dropping the intellect, especially monks who have been studying for a long time. To suddenly just let it go and be naked in the meditational experience is frightening for them, whereas women seem to be able to manage it naturally." (1)"This enigma is embodied in Vajrayogini, who is often called the chief of dakinis. Usually depicted as an attractive teenage girl, naked except for a few bone ornaments, she glances invitingly while also swinging a curved knife, ready to cut through ego clinging without warning." (5)"Spiritual practice is everyday life, not just sitting on a cushion, mediating. Every move, every word, every thought is practice. Dharma is in daily life." (11)"What the historical Buddha taught could not have been more straightforward, [Khandro Rinpoche] says: 'If you want something, simply create the causes. If you don't want something, don't create the ground for it.' Yet, she jokes, it only took 2500 years to turn this easy recipe for happiness into 'the most complicated philosophy on earth.' Why? Because, for the life of us, we don't want to give up or self-cherishing. Our constant attempts to exempt ourselves from this simple logic of altruism necessitated the later explosion of practices, mantras, a colorful pantheon of deities, philosophies, and texts. Each was designed to convince us that our particular style of self-cherishing will not lead to happiness for ourselves or others." (18 - 19)"'You'll never understand genuine compassion if you're not joyful, [Khandro Rinpoche] admonishes her audiences. 'Joyfulness is the ability to appreciate something good int he day, in yourself, in others, in your home, in your work. That makes you more open.'" (19)"Though the term 'Buddhist' has become a household word in the West, Tibetans hardly ever use it for themselves. Dagmola draws great meaning from the original Tibetan name for practitioners: 'Nangpa literally means 'insiders.' This indicates the path is about ourselves, looking inward at our own mind instead of searching for meaning outwardly." (45)"From the five elements that make up nature--earth, water, wind, fire, space--up to the most majestic Himalayan mountain ranges and their inhabitants, pious Tibetans regard everything as sacred." (47)"Sandpaper for the ego.""...bodhichitta, the aspiration to become enlightened for the sake of all sentient beings." (97)"Whenever there is a dakinin empowerment, the texts talk about prajna as primary, the feminine principle as the birthplace or womb of all the Buddhas." (97-98)"'I thought there's something very profoundin what is happening here. Because I see that a lot of us are just running around in circles pretending that there's grond where there actually isn't ground. And that somehow, if we could learn to not be afraid of groundlessness, not be afraid of insecurity and uncertainty, it woul dbe calling on an inner strength that would allow us to be open and free and loving and compassionate in any situation. But as long as we keep trying to scramble to get ground under our feet and avoid the uneasy feeling of groundlessness and insecurity and uncertainty and ambiguity and paradox, any of that, then the wars will continue." (125)"It's how we relate to the things that happen to us that causes suffering," (125)"'Retreat forces us to learn how to sanely relate to all our experiences...I find it humorous that people think retreat is an escape from responsibilities and a withdrawal into oneself ... In retreat, all that you have been suppressing comes to the surface. You put yourself in a position of being unable to ignore that.'" (145)INstead of running away from sickness and suffering, reacting to it, why not use it to transform our being and change and purify karma, instead of create greater negative karma. (136-7)"This is what TIbetan Buddhism is about: Not holding too tightly to any concept, even concepts that are supposed to be 'right.'" (159)"'All suffering comes from the wish for your own happiness. Perfect buddhas are born from the thought to help others. THerefore exchange your own happiness for the suffering of others.'" (201)"'Before I met Buddhism, i was completely convinced everything came from outside. The teaching about misery coming from ignorance, attachment, and anger really got to me. The bodhichitta teachings, indentifying the self-centered thought as the troublemaker and knowing helping others is the thing to do--all this made so much sense.'" (211)"'The organizational structure of the monastery or which language you practice in is not dharama but conventional culture. Practicing to free our mind from ignorance, anger, and attachement and to cultivate love, compassion, and wisdom--that is the dharma.'" (218)"'I realized how much of [my grandmother's] misery had been rooted in her family's fear of death, including my own. At that moment, I made the commitment to practice being there for others as they died.'" (231)- Ojai Foundation Phowa: Practice of helping the spirit leave the body"Rather than idealize their spiritual teachers, Roshi recommends that students 'retrieve their projections, see their own enlightened nature and their own deluded nature, and see the deluded and enlightened nature of every being.'" (244)"'The Eastern pattern is more towards seeking harmony; the Western pattern is to seek transparency.'" (244)Grief is self-indulgent. To think that when you feel sorrow, you should feel everyone's sorrow melts away the individual. It takes the grief away because you cannot remain individualized and self-centered. You have to let go of the clinging and realize your true nature as vast, compassionate, perfect, lucid. (268)"May you live long and realize your fullest potential / May your spirits soar high, and may you always have the courage to follow the truth / May all of your aspirations be fulfilled and goodness prevail / May every being on earth find peace and happiness, shelter and refuge / Don't let anybody tell you it can't be done " (Dedication)

  • Tanya McGinnity
    2019-06-23 05:58

    I was so very excited to read of this book as I am an avid ‘devourer’ of books written to express the experiences of fellow sisters on the Buddhist path. From Women of the Way: Discovering 2,500 Years of Buddhist Wisdom by Sallie Tisdale to Women Of Wisdom by Tsultrim Allione and several other books that rest on both my physical and digital bookshelves, this book has now become a treasured guide to help inspire me through its presentation of strong, determined and steadfast feminine energy.In her book ‘Dakini Power’, author Michaela Haas has gathered together the fascinating biographies of 12 diverse women who have been pivotal within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition as it moved from East to West. The women featured (from left to right in the image below) are: Khandro Tsering Chödrön, Pema Chödrön, Roshi Joan Halifax , Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, Thubten Chodron, Dagmola Kusho Sakya, Karma Lekshe Tsomo, Sangye Khandro , Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel , Chagdud Khadro and Lama Tsultrim Allione.Each story unique and each biography offers up a vibrant glimpse of how these women discovered the dharma, met their teachers and the challenges and successes they may have encountered on their individual paths as dakinis – “female messengers of wisdom”. Several married, others unmarried or previously married (some have even married their teachers) and many have borne children and balanced motherhood with spiritual practice and study. A fully detailed experience is presented here via the stories and interviews between the pages of ‘Dakini Power’ and as such, topics including: geography, politics, cultural barriers for female practitioners, love, the issue of women’s ordination within Buddhism, sexual abuse within the Buddhist community among many other aspects of the human condition all are presented and explored with a mixture of humour, wisdom and passion.The impact that each of these women has made in the global community is also highlighted as each have used their precious human birth to assist in the spread of the dharma in their own ways, be it through becoming high ranking spiritual teachers, authors, lecturers, translators or founders of spiritual centres. To read of their motivations and their desire to be of service is truly a gift.‘Dakini Power’ isn’t afraid to dive into the choppy waters of gender politics and Buddhism and the book opens with a quote from Padmasambhava - “Whether male or female, there is no great difference. But if a woman develops the mind of enlightenment, her potential is supreme.” A nuanced approach to gender runs through the book and each biography offers up whether the woman featured has a specific take on feminism as it has applied in their respective lives. In the case of Tenzin Palmo, she mentioned how at one time or another each of us has been male and female and she is dedicating herself to becoming enlightened in a female form since she believes in the importance of there being more women teachers and role-models. Khandro Rinpoche in the book when commenting on why some female students place so much importance on having a female teacher or on gender politics, she dismisses this kind of thinking and says, “If being a woman is an inspiration, us it. If it is an obstacle, try not to be bothered’ and later goes on to say, “There is no need for aggression or for sadness about discrimination. One just works harder, works harder… This is what I would like women to know – you need a lot of patience, you have to work towards it, and if you are really serious about equal qualities of women, then you have to work by example”.With her book ‘Dakini Power’, Michaela Haas has provided an important contribution to Buddhist scholarship in compiling research and conducting interviews with these twelve women as it is an essential snapshot of time showing the contributions of several modern female Buddhists and to see where the future of Buddhism ends up. Several of the women featured are some of the first wave of Tibetans to be forced from their land by the Chinese and this book captures their stories. Other women were those who traveled from the West over to India and Asia to experience and discover the wisdom traditions of the East. We must ask ourselves now what the next generation of female Buddhists will contribute.

  • Julie G
    2019-05-25 02:43

    Dakini(Skt), khandro(Tib): Female embodiment of enlightenmentMs. Haas begins her book with the story of how she came to embrace Tibetan Buddhism and the "questions, challenges and demands" that drove her to seek out other women in similar circumstances. As she explains in the foreword:"To meet these women gave me courage and inspiration, new insights and enthusiasm. I hope that by meeting them in this book, you will be inspired in the same way: to let go of old fears, explore new paths, and listen to the whisper of your inner voice with confidence."The dichotomy exposed in Dakini Power bears mentioning. It is part and parcel of any discussion of female Buddhist teachers and masters. And helps to explain the dearth of information.Although Padmasambhava, the eighth-century pioneer of Buddhism in Tibet, believed that women "are better equipped to realize the wisdom of the teachings", that there was no great difference in male and female, Buddhist cultures throughout history have perceived the woman as inferior.There are no formal educational opportunities for female Buddhists in Asia and, in Tibet, no way for Buddhist nuns to be fully ordained. The author makes the point dramatically with the story of a friend, the sister of four brothers, who doesn't even know her birth date as her parents didn't deem it important enough to record.Dakini Power is not a quick read, nor an easy read. There is a great deal of information that, despite the glossary and extensive notes in the back, went over my head on several occasions.With that said, I applaud Ms. Haas' work to fill the informational hole and bring the stories of these twelve amazing Dakinis to the rest of the world. This is a book worth reading, and re-reading. And sharing.~*~*~Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary electronic galley of this book from the publisher through [...] professional readers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

  • Demi
    2019-06-12 00:04

    This was by far, one of the most enjoyable books I've read in a long time. It was a real pleasure to follow the very varied biographies of these amazing female practioners and actually, quite inspiring given that I'm currently a young Mum trying to squeeze in Buddhist practice while raising a young child.Each of the twelve biographies were written very well and quite easy to read. What I really treasured was the varied backgrounds and personalities of the twelve female teachers. So often, we read about these teachers or take teachings from them, but don't realise the personal challenges that some of them have overcome. It was very encouraging to read that some of this great teachers came from circumstances similiar to any other person and look at what they've managed to achieve. It brought me closer to each one of these women and I appreciate more than ever, their candid and resourceful teachings.What I also enjoyed was the insight into what it's like to be a consort (Sangyum) to high Lamas both from a traditional Tibetan perspective and a Western perspective. Not much is often spoken about this role and yet it is often hinted at when you read various Tibetan Buddhist material. Dakini Power helped to dispel a lot of "myths" or misconceptions about this very important role and bring things down to earth. I have a new appreciation for what a Sangyum does and I think this book will help future students to better understand the difference between a true Sangyum relationship and abuse of Guru-student sexual misconduct.Well doen to Michaela Haas for opening the doors of discussion about this and for her wonderful selection of female practioners to interview. I truly hope there might be a sequel one day, as sentient beings are in dire need of more Dakinis and highly realised female practioners as role models.

  • Harry Allagree
    2019-06-10 23:46

    Author Michaela Haas early on sets the tone of the book: "A female embodiment of enlightenment is called a "dakini" in the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit. But what exactly is a dakini? Dakinis are elusive and playful by nature; trying to nail them down with a neat definition means missing them, since defying narrow intellectual concepts is at the core of their wise game. I listened to the teachers in this book when they shared their understanding."I found Haas' book -- descriptions of & interviews with 12 such dakinis -- one of the most inspiring I've read for a long time. The span of ages, backgrounds, nationalities, etc. is absolutely fascinating, and very instructive, I might add. The dakinis come in all sorts of varieties: Eastern/Western, younger/older, married/celibate, introvert/extrovert. The women described are what we used to call in the seminary "mulieres fortes": strong, courageous, powerful, resolute women. They are a breed whose leadership we need more of, especially in Western society. Thank God that many of the dozen women in this book are teaching or have taught in the U.S. Though I've studied Buddhism to some extent, it's not a philosophy that I grasp very well. A number of the dakinis in this book have helped me understand it better. Anyone who appreciates the quest for justice, equality & compassion in the world will enjoy Haas' well-documented presentation.

  • Paul
    2019-06-15 05:58

    I've come to particularly trust teachers and teachings that aim to radically cut through our self-clinging and attachment. I feel this is one of the highest forms of compassion for us as practitioners on the path.So, I like that Michaela shared Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche's point to Pema Chödrön when he said to her essentially, "..there's no way you could have so much fame with out it puffing you up." and the discovery of her arrogance and the feeling of being ignored while she performed her retreat chore: dusting rocks by the creek with a broom. I also particularly like the chapter on Sangye Khandro, the western translator. In it Michaela shows Sangye Khandro's dedication to her teacher, as well as to the purity and authenticity of her translations, despite controversy from both in and outside at a difficult time in her life.Thank you Michaela

  • Tamm
    2019-05-29 01:05

    This book was very inspiring. I think that this book was much better than other biographies that I have read in the same vein. I felt that the stories were very varied and many made me want to read more. Like Sangye Khandro, I grew up LDS and have faced the same issues explaining my change of religion to my family. All the stories were interesting to read and makes the text easily accessible to people who aren't familiar with Tibetan Buddhism. I'm so glad someone took the time to bring these narratives together. The only small issue/gripe I have is that the topic of sexuality is touched on, but almost skirted in this text. I think that I disagree with some teachers because of my own views. This made reading certain excerpts more difficult. But I had read about these aspects from those teachers before; so their views did not come as a surprise.

  • Gail
    2019-06-18 23:48

    Highly recommend it! I love biographies and have a bit of interest in Buddhism so this was perfect for me. I was curious by the trailer about a London librarian who moves to India and spends ten years in a cave! How does this happen? I found all the stories really interesting. I was also surprised at how substantial the book was. It is such a great read, I couldn't put it down! There were so many surprising things in there - I had no idea that women were not allowed to study some of the teachings the men study. My favorite life story is the one of Dagmola Sakya - the first Tibetan woman ever to immigrate from Tibet to America. What a life! She was raising 5 kids while working a full-time job and still finding time to meditate and build a monastery in Seattle. Am really impressed!

  • Kirsten Baker
    2019-06-16 02:58

    Fascinating read on 12 female masters in the Tibetan Tradition including both Tibetans and westerners. The Tibetan stories give insight into pre-Chinese invasion Tibet - a highly religious, patriarchal and hierarchical society. There is a great mix of women featured here - including Western born nuns who have criticized the patriarchy they see (as college educated westerners)in traditional Tibetan Buddhism and are actively working with the support of the Dalai Lama towards rectifying this, especially in the matter of allowing women full ordination. Great read.

  • Laura B
    2019-06-16 22:44

    Wonderful, wonderful book.

  • Jkl
    2019-05-31 22:55

    Interviewer interviewed well which help to make this a solid introductions of 12 women who, through their efforts, bought Buddhism to the West. The impact each of these women have had is significant bringing a refreshing insight to what could have been a mistakenly patriarchal religion bound to die in western culture. Instead we have a breath taking experience of a lineage beginning with the "Dakini Power" and now integrating all of us into a culture of equanimity.

  • Leanne Gibz
    2019-06-04 02:36

    This book is incredibly insightful, taking on both women of Tibet and women from the "west." It takes on the past and the present.

  • Marsha Altman
    2019-06-05 05:00

    This was a great survey of the important women in Tibetan Buddhism working primarily in the West. It seems to be about split between Westerns who became nuns and fought for more education and Tibetan women who had access to higher level Buddhist studies because they married an important teacher. The transmission of Buddhism through women has come a long way, but it has a long way to go.On a cultural note, I found it amusing that the Western, non-Buddhist-born women were so seemingly confused that their families might be mad at them for abandoning their religion, family, and societal responsibilities to sit and meditate. I know being a nun involves a lot more than that, but that's the way Westerners see it.

  • Elijay
    2019-06-05 01:54

    This book is so inspiring! I dream one day to be like the wonderful women in this book. The stories of the women who challenge patriarchalism in Tibetan Buddhism, who set up nunneries in the Himalayas and teach nuns to read, the women who are sharing the teachings that were kept from the world for centuries are all examples of the world changing. That, we are at the cusp of a new age where the masculine and feminine may be balanced. They also show how much work needs to be done. I find these women amazing and strong who have achieved so much despite adversity.

  • Martin Edic
    2019-06-07 23:46

    I'm halfway through this and am having a serious issue with two profiles of women who are entirely focused on their own achievements and who are having sexual relations with their teachers. Both are western. The writer seems to think this is perfectly alright. It is a weird double standard when compared to someone like Tenzin Palmo who teaches that we should be very critical of potential teachers and watch their non-public actions, including sexual activity with students. This hurts the image of both Tibetan Buddhism and female leaders in the US.Cannot recommend.

  • Lori A.Snyder
    2019-06-02 21:48

    If you have ever wondered what it might be like to be a Buddhist nun then this will be a fascinating read. Each chapter focuses on the story of twelve dynamic nuns who are spiritually inspiring and fiercely loving in their practice, telling their background stories that brought them to Buddhism and what they are doing now to help everyone become liberated from suffering. It is also very revealing about the female role and perspective in Buddhism.

  • Robin
    2019-06-10 03:42

    Incredible, inspiring stories told with great passion and finesse.

  • Michaela Haas
    2019-06-07 02:01